Pivotal draft awaits Smith, Chargers

By BERNIE WILSON - AP Sports Writer
    2012-04-23 12:22

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A.J. Smith is on the clock.

For the San Diego Chargers, the three-day NFL draft that starts Thursday night could be about much more than simply helping to restock a once-powerful team that has fallen back to the pack.

It might also be about saving the jobs of general manager Smith and coach Norv Turner, who remain employed despite the Chargers missing the playoffs for two straight years and having just one playoff win in four seasons.

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Team President Dean Spanos didn't go as far as to issue any playoffs-or-else ultimatums the day he made the unpopular decision that Smith and Turner would stay on.

He made it clear, though, that the Chargers need to win.

San Diego holds the 18th pick overall.